Rivers State Governorship candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, Biokpomabo Awara has expressed disappointment over the purported resignation of his running mate Akpo Bomba Yeeh and his reported defection to the Peoples’ Democratic Party PDP.
Awara who addressed journalists at a briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, dismissed Yeeh’s ‘compromising’ actions, claiming that he had himself been offered money to drop his ambition, but he rejected it and his deputy was aware.
“When the story of his resignation first came out as a rumour, that Rivers State Governor has offered him N200 million to abandon me, I had no reason to believe it because that Elder Yeeh was aware I had earlier turned down an offer of N3b some days ago.”
“When the rumour became rife by Sunday, I made several attempts to reach my deputy without success. I started developing some strange feelings pointing to a possible sell-out by him.”
However, Awara stated that he has officially filed a petition to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), against its Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers State, Obo Effanga, whom they accused of gross incompetence and bias.
“My party and all well-meaning citizens of Rivers State are dissatisfied with the gross incompetence of the REC and INEC’s decision to continue with the suspended electoral process, as it is clearly not a fair or transparent process.
“We are concerned about the looming electoral crises unfolding in Rivers State and this may most likely result in a breakdown of law and order, destruction of property and loss of lives.”
He claimed that he was the clear winner of the March 9 governorship election in Rivers, having won 15 of the 23 local government areas in the state.
Justice Ekwo had during the last sitting on the suit refused to grant the motion as requested by the AAC candidate, saying it had been overtaken by events.
The adjournment came four days after INEC released a timeline for the governorship and state house of assembly elections in the state.
INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Mr Festus Okoye, had told reporters on Thursday last week that the electoral body would resume the collation and announcement of results in Rivers between April 2 and 5.
He added that INEC would conduct supplementary election where necessary, and in some constituencies not affected by litigation on April 13.
Mr Okoye had also said the issuance of all outstanding certificates of return would be concluded on April 19 while INEC would hold an inter-agency security meeting on March 29.
The deputy governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Mr Akpo Yeeh, has announced his resignation from the party.
Mr Yeeh made the announcement in a letter dated March 25 and addressed to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu.
He, thereafter, said he has decided to join the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“I write to most respectfully notify you of my resignation from the membership of the African Action Congress (AAC) with effect from today, 25 March 2019 and subsequent defection to the Peoples Democratic Party,” the former deputy governorship candidate said in the letter.
“Please, note also that by this notice, I cease to be the deputy governorship candidate of the AAC for the 2019 governorship election in Rivers State.”
He explained that he took the decision as a result of the alleged hijack of the party’s structure by a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
Mr Yeeh he accused the faction of using the AAC as a platform to subvert the will of the people and causing a crisis in Rivers.
He also alleged that the leadership of the APC faction assured them of victory at all cost, even though his former party did not print posters or field any candidates for the national and state assembly polls.
He said his resignation from AAC and subsequent defection to PDP followed due consultations with his immediate family, friends, and supporters.
The former deputy governorship candidate was received by the National Chairman of the PDP, Mr Uche Secondus, and the state governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, as well as other party leaders at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The African Action Congress (AAC) in Rivers State has condemned the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to resume the process in the Governorship and House of Assembly elections held on Saturday, March 9, 2019 in the state.
The electoral umpire had announced its decision on Friday night, after receiving the report of its investigation committee set up to probe the violence and other electoral infractions that led to the suspension of the poll on Sunday, March 10.
But the AAC in a statement on Saturday rejected INEC’s claim “that governorship and state assembly elections results were available for seventeen (17) LGAs”.
“Sadly, we are curiously surprised and disappointed that INEC deliberately refused to name the 17 local government areas.
“As far as this information is concerned, it is manifestly false and the attempt to shroud the LGAs claimed to have results in secrecy is a serious step by INEC to sway the outcome of the process in favour of Gov. Nyesom Wike, its preferred candidate,” the party stated.
In the statement, signed by its Publicity Secretary in the state, Felix William, the AAC asked INEC to declare its candidate winner of the governorship election, saying that “it was glaring that he was winning until INEC stepped in to halt the process apparently to save Wike from an earth-shaking defeat”.
However, in its reaction, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state welcomed the pronouncement by INEC on the elections “as substantial representation of the true state of the electoral process before the suspension.
“However, we wish to draw the INEC’s attention to the fact that in addition to the 17 Local Government Areas with fully collated results, the elections also successfully held and results declared at the unit and ward levels in five of the six other Local Government Areas where full collation of results is still pending,” stated the PDP.
The PDP commended INEC for, in its words, “standing by the truth and for its courage and principled determination to ensure that the votes of the people of Rivers State as freely and overwhelmingly expressed on the 9th of March 2019 in favour of the PDP effectively count.”
It also applauded Nigerian Army authorities for setting up a committee to investigate the alleged involvement of soldiers in the process that led to the suspension of the elections in Rivers State, as well as the alleged assassination attempt on Governor Wike by soldiers.